Michael Ferro resigned as tronc Inc. board chairman March 19, hours before a news story came out that accused him of sexual misconduct.
Tronc announced that Justin Dearborn, the company’s chief executive officer, will replace Ferro.
The resignation came hours before Fortune.com published an article in which two women, Kathryn Minshew and Hagan Kappler, detailed instances in which Ferro allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward them during the course of business meetings.
The alleged incidents took place in 2013 and 2016. Ferro invested in the Tribune Company in 2016, and renamed it tronc.
As part of his resignation, Ferro is forfeiting 450,000 tronc shares, which were due to vest in August, shares worth about $7.2 million, based on Monday’s trading price at close of the business day.
It is unclear is whether the Ferro-owned Merrick Media LLC will sell its shares. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Merrick Media owns 9.1 million shares, or 25 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.
An email to tronc regarding the allegations was not immediately returned. A spokesman for Ferro told Fortune that neither Minshew nor Kappler worked for tronc, and noted Ferro has retired to private life.
Under Ferro’s board leadership, the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union Tribune, Spanish newspaper Hoy, and other Southern California assets were sold to Nant Capital LLC in February for an estimated $500 million. The deal is expected to close in the next few months pending federal regulatory approval. Nant Capital was founded by Patrick Soon-Shiong, no. 1 on the L.A. Business Journal’s 2017 list of Wealthiest Angelenos.
Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 556-8332.
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